Coffee Klatsch, Memories, Oh Ja

Being Our Own Besties

“I feel alone and I’m afraid sometimes.”

She was only 23 or 24, sorting out my garden-ravaged nails.

I didn’t know her, this young Vietnamese woman having her first overseas adventure and working at a relative’s nail bar.

I’m hardly the font of all knowledge and my advice about most things is that life is for living, so don’t play it too safe – better to make mistakes than have regrets when it’s too late to do anything about them.

Advice not everyone would agree with, for I have taken some outlandish steps and may yet have one or two up my sleeve.

Perhaps I seemed motherly to this young woman, a shocking thought, for in my mind’s eye I am still 18.

My own mother warned me this would happen when she was in her 70s.

“Sometimes I look in the mirror and can’t believe that’s me. I don’t feel any different than when I was a teenager.”

I told the young woman things would get better.

That when I had moved from Minnesota to Honolulu and then to New Zealand I had no friends, no money, and was terrified.

That it took months to find my first post-college job in Honolulu, an innocent place in the early 1980s when Waikiki consisted of pink and lavender sunsets, shadowy bars and tourist shops selling leis and muumuus.

Today I don’t recognise the glossy parade of high end stores in Waikiki.

I liked Waikiki better back then.

But I was lonely.

Making true friends takes time, and I missed mine.

If I could give my young self, and my daughter, and the young woman at the nail bar some advice, it would be to work two jobs in a new town instead of sitting alone night after night.

Meet more people.

Make more friends.

Spend less on cocktails and frivolity.

Save more, so you have choices.

Stop pining and worrying.

Live in the moment.

Think a bit less.

Have a bit more fun.

Forgive yourself for missteps and exploratory sins; no one in Stearns County will ever know.

Things will work out fine.

Get out there and live.

You’re young.

This NY Times article brings back those dreamy Waikiki days. Some of the dreamy places still exist. As do the leis and muumuus.

For Lily Pearl

Photo Mr Doomits, istock

One thought on “Being Our Own Besties”

  1. Lois Thielen says:

    This really resonated with me. Growing up is so overwhelming. We are so naive and inexperienced, and I think it’s worse (or was when we were growing up) as a woman. I would advise the following and thank heavens I had enough street smarts to do a lot of them:
    Listen to your gut, that will protect you against a lot of harm.
    Let the guy in your life do some of the heavy lifting in the relationship. Also read a book called “He’s Just Not That Into You” for more on being real in relationships.
    Take advantage of every opportunity. Most of them only come along once.
    Travel all you can. It’s easier when you’re young and you learn so much.
    Spend time with older people, especially your relatives. You don’t know how long you will have them and they can tell you so much.
    Don’t be afraid to challenge the system. If you think something’s wrong, speak up and work to change it.

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